The foreclosure crisis hits close to home – and not just because Americans’ houses are at stake. More than one in three Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll claim to know someone who has been through the process at some point in their lives, and one in twelve have gone through the process themselves.
The crisis touches all regions, and goes across party lines. But those in the West are the most likely to have been personally affected – or know someone who has. 54% of Westerners have either been in foreclosure at some point in their lives or know someone who has.
There is also worry that the current crisis isn’t over. Two-thirds of Americans who own their home currently are paying off a mortgage on it, and 27% of them are worried they could lose their home to foreclosure some day. This is especially a worry for homeowners with incomes below $40,000.
Half of American homeowners believe the value of their own homes has gone down in the last year – and only 8% think the value of their home has increased. This is particularly noticeable in the West: 54% of those who live in the West say their home’s value has dropped in the last year, and only 4% say it has increased.
People in the West are also the most pessimistic about future housing prices. Nearly twice as many there expect housing prices to continue to decline in the next year as expect prices to rise. The rest of the country is only a little more optimistic.
"Do you think the value of your home has increased or decreased in the lat year?"
|(Asked of homeowners)|
Stayed about the same
Three in ten Americans rate their part of the country as having a weaker housing market than the country as a whole. And again, Westerners are the most negative, but Midwesterners follow close behind.
For 84% of Americans, owning a home remains important to achieving the American Dream.
Image source: flickr (Jeff Turner)